Adult giraffes have tongues that are 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 cm) in length. The length of the tongue makes it possible for giraffes to feast on a wide range of leaves and other types of shoots. A giraffe’s tongue also makes it easier for the animal to work around the thorns that are found on one if its primary sources of nutrition, the acacia. Thanks to the dexterity of the tongue, it’s easier to move the leaves away from the thorns and enjoy the meal.
More facts about giraffes:
- The color of a giraffe’s tongue usually is described as black or purple. Although the front section of the tongue is darker, the section near the throat is more of a pink hue. The general consensus is that the major portion of the tongue is a darker color as a means of minimizing sunburn as the giraffe feeds. Another idea is that the greater section of the tongue is equipped with thickened papillae that help prevent damage during feedings.
- An adult male giraffe can weigh as much as an average pickup truck. It is not unusual for the male to reach a weight of 3,086 pounds (almost 1,400 kg).
- The best time to attack a giraffe is while the animal is drinking. During this period, the giraffe is not able to look from side to side and see an approaching predator.